Verstappen ‘gave it everything’ en route to maiden Monaco pole as he hopes to avoid race-day ‘chaos’
Max Verstappen expressed his satisfaction after beating Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc to pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix during a hotly-contested qualifying session in the Principality.
Saturday’s grid-deciding hour saw the Red Bull, Aston Martin and Ferrari trio battle it out for P1, with the reigning double world champion ultimately coming out on top to bag his first Monte Carlo pole.
Speaking after the session, Verstappen admitted that his final lap of 1m 11.365s was a tricky one to put together, but it nonetheless gave him just under a tenth of a second in hand over nearest rival Alonso.
“Yeah, I’m very happy,” he said. “We knew that this was going to be a little bit of a struggle for us this weekend, to get everything together. Yesterday wasn’t the best start, but I think we kept on improving and kept on getting better.
“In qualifying, you need to go all out and risk it all. My first sector wasn’t ideal on my final lap, I think Turn 1 was a bit cautious, but then I knew I was behind, so the last sector I gave it everything I had and clipped a few barriers… But of course, very happy to be on pole here for the first time.”
While he has the all-important track position for race day, Verstappen remains wary of the various dramas that can occur around Monaco’s tight and twisty streets – calling on Red Bull “to keep it clean and calm”.
“We need a clean start,” he commented. “It’s a short run to Turn 1. I mean, in Monaco, a lot of things can happen – Safety Car, rain, you name it, there is always a bit of chaos involved. I think race-pace wise the car is quick, so that’s not the problem.”
Verstappen was the sole Red Bull in action in the pole shootout after team mate Sergio Perez dramatically crashed at Sainte Devote during Q1, leaving the Mexican to rue what might have been.
“It was going well, I was happy with the balance,” Perez explained. “But going into the corner, I just lost the rear-end quite late into the corner, and then I became a passenger.
“It was so late that I had nowhere to go – I could not cut the corner or go out of the corner and I ended up touching the wall, which is a big mistake from my side, and I’m very sorry for my team.”
He added: “This mistake is just very difficult to digest. I don’t know what to say – just sorry for my team, they don’t deserve this... I’m really disappointed with myself and it’s going to be a very difficult day tomorrow to do anything.”